Summer has finally arrived, kids will be out of school soon, and Chicagoans are looking for ways to enjoy this all-too-short season. Why not take advantage of living in the midst of world-class museums and plan a visit or two on days when free admission is offered (some for Illinois residents only, some for everyone). Parking and special exhibits are extra, and always check museums’ websites for changes in hours on and around holidays. Here are the free admission days from June 1 through Labor Day.
Adler Planetarium. Free general admission for Illinois residents June 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, and 12. Open Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1300 South Lake Shore Drive • Chicago IL 60605 • 312-922-STAR (7827).
Art Institute of Chicago. Free general admission for Illinois residents every Thursday from 5:00-8:00 p.m.; free every day for children 14 and younger. Open every day 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. 312-443-0849.
Chicago Children’s Museum. Free for everyone every Thursday evening (5-8 p.m.); free for ages 15 the first Sunday of the month. Open every day 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. 312-527-1000.
Chicago History Museum. Free general admission for Illinois residents July 4, August 19-21, August 25-28. Free every day for ages 12 and under; free for Bank of America and Merrill Lynch credit and debit cardholders Saturday-Sunday, June 1-2 (must show card and photo ID; valid for cardholder only). Open Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sun. noon-5 p.m. 1601 North Clark Street (Clark & North Ave). 312-642-4600.
DuSable Museum of African American History. Free for everyone every Sunday. Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. 740 East 56th Place (corner of 57th & Cottage Grove), Chicago. 773-947-0600.
Field Museum. Free general admission for Illinois residents June 4, 5, 9. Open every day 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 312-922-9410.
International Museum of Surgical Science. Free for everyone every Tuesday. Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1524 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. 312-642-6502.
Jane Adams Hull-House Museum. Free for everyone every day ($5 suggested donation). Open Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 12-4 p.m. 800 S. Halsted St. at the University of Illinois-Chicago. 312-413-5353.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Free for Illinois residents every Tuesday; free every day for active members of the military and children 12 and younger (accompanied by an adult). Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Tues. until 8 p.m.). 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. 312-280-2660.
Museum of Contemporary Photography. Free for everyone every day. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. 8 p.m.), Sun. 12-5 p.m. (closed when Columbia College is closed). 600 S. Michigan Ave. at Columbia College, Chicago. 312-663-5554.
Museum of Science and Industry. Free for Illinois residents June 1-6. Open Mon.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. 773-684-1414.
National Museum of Mexican Art. Free for everyone every day. Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1852 W. 19th Street, Chicago. 312-738-1503.
National Veterans Art Museum. Free for everyone every day. Open Tues-Sat 10a.m.-5p.m. 4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago. 312-326-0270.
The Oriental Institute. Free every day (suggested donation: $10 adults, $5 children under 12). Open Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Wed. until 8:30 p.m.), Sun. 12-6 p.m. 1155 East 58th Street at the University of Chicago. 773-702-9514.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Suggested donation for Illinois residents on Thursdays. Open Mon-Fri, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 2430 N. Cannon Dr. (just north of Lincoln Park Zoo), Chicago. 773-755-5100.
Shedd Aquarium. Free for Illinois residents June 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17. Open every day 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. 312-939-2438.
Smart Museum of Art. Free for everyone every day. Open Tues.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). 5550 S. Greenwood Ave. at the University of Chicago. 773-702-0200.
Lincoln Park Zoo. Free for everyone every day (parking is extra; there is free parking along Stockton Dr. when available). Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.); Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (gates open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.). 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago. 312-742-2000.
In addition to the museums’ free days, Chicago Public Library branches have free passes for up to four family members to a number of Chicago’s most popular museums. These passes may be checked out by any adult who is a Chicago resident with a Chicago Public Library card, but in order for a pass to be accepted at a museum, the group must include at least one child under 18 and no more than two adults.
You can get information about parking, driving directions, and public transportation for each museum by clicking on the museum’s name.
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